Saturday, April 30, 2011

Birthdays April 24-30

I started this feature at the beginning of the year and was keeping it going pretty well. Then I got sick and everything went to hell. Well, the feature is back. I'm going to go a little easier on myself and just feature any player I want for the day, not try to stick to themes like best home run hitter. Also, I'm only going to feature players for whom I actually own cards. One of the reasons I do this blog is to show off the wide variety of cards I own. Nobody in my house really cares about that, but I know you, my faithful reader, does.

April 24
1992 Bowman #28 Chipper JonesChipper was born in 1972 in Deland FL. If there is anyone playing today who is sure to be a first year of eligibility Hall of Famer, it's Chipper. I first heard of Chipper Jones in 1991 when one of the players in my rotisserie league drafted him as a minor league reserve player. He had a tough season in 2010 when he tore the ACL in his left knee in a game against the Astros (I think, I know I was watching the game). I also saw him get his 2,500 hit off the Phillies this year. I own 150 Chipper cards and this is my favorite.

April 25
2003 Upper Deck Victory Tier 1 Green #47 Jacques JonesNo big names born this date so I'll go with the biggest home run hitter and another Jones. Jacque was born in 1975 in San Diego, CA. He was the Twins 2nd round draft pick in 1996. He was an outfielder who hit 165 home runs in his 10-year career. He was a member of the 1996 US Olympic Baseball Team.

April 26
2008 Bowman Chrome #155 Kosuke FukudomeFukudome was born in Kagoshima, Japan in 1977. He'd played 9 years in Japan before the Cubs signed him for $7,000,000 in 2008. He was a sensation in the game and in the hobby in 2008 but he doesn't seem to have really lived up to the hype.

April 27
2009 Topps Turkey Red #133 Rogers HornsbyAnother Hall of Famer, Enos Slaughter, was also born on this date but I decided to go with Hornsby. Rajah was born in 1896 in Winters Texas. He had a career batting average of .358 and hit 301 home runs in his 23 year career. Through much of his career he also managed the team he played for. Can you imagine that happening today? The last player/manager I can think of was Pete Rose.

April 28
1997 Studio Hard Hats #1 Barry Larkin
Barry was born in 1964 in Cincinnati. He was the Reds #1 draft pick in 1985 and played his entire 19-year career for the Reds. He was a 12-time All-Star with 3 Golden Gloves to his name. He was a great offensive player with a .298 career batting average, 960 RBIs and 379 stolen bases. He was also a great defensive player. He was eligible for the HOF in 2010 but didn't get enough votes in 2010 or 2011. He'll be back on the ballot in 2012 and seems to me that he should get into the Hall. This card is die-cut clear plastic. You can't tell from the scan but the top corners are cut back to the helmet border. The card is numbered 2569/5000.

April 29
2003 Finest Topps Team Topps Legends Autographs Luis AparicioLittle Louie was born in Venezuela in 1934. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1984. In addition to playing for the White Sox, he also played for the Orioles and the Red Sox. This card is somewhat of a mystery to me. I got it in a box of 2010 Topps 205. What it was doing there I have no idea since it is actually a 2003 issued card. It is a reprint, not an actual 1956 Topps card.

April 30
2005 Topps Cracker Jack #133 Phil GarnerScrap Iron was born in 1949 in Jefferson City TN. He had a 16-year career mainly with the A's, Pirates and Astros. As you might expect with a nickname of Scrap Iron, he was considered a hard-nosed player. His best season as a player was 1979 when he helped lead the Pirates to the World Series. I best know him as the manager of the Astros in 2005, leading them to their first ever World Series, which they promptly lost to the White Sox in 4 games.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Best Repack Box Ever - Part 3 The Keepers

One more dip into that Fairfield box I've been featuring. Here are just a handful of the cards I'll be keeping.

1989 Upper Deck #280 John "Lady, I'm not an athlete, I'm a ballplayer" KrukI own 235 cards from the 800-card 1989 Upper Deck set. I think I've acquired most of them through repacks. I remember seeing the boxed set for sale around Christmas time in 1989 for $50. My brother (who started collecting cards around 1980) and I were amazed. Who would pay $50 for a set of baseball cards? I wish I'd bought two.

2009 Upper Deck #45 Diasuke Matsuzake
I didn't care a whole lot for the 2009 Upper Deck but there was a pack of it in the box. Dice-K is a player I collect and I didn't have this card.

1980 Topps#306 Denny Walling

1980 Topps holds a special place in my heart because the Phillies won their first ever World Series in 1980. To get there they had to first defeat the Astros in the NLCS. Danny only had 1 hit in 9 at-bats, a two-run single. You gotta love those old Astros unis.

1989 Upper Deck #255 George Bell
It looks like George got all of a mile-high pop up in this photo.

1989 Fleer #82 Oil Can Boyd
1989 Fleer was not a particularly attractive card, but I collect Oil Can Boyd and didn't have this card. Perhaps not the greatest pitcher to have ever lived, but he was (and still is) a colorful figure. Apparently his nickname comes from his beer drinking days back in his home town of Meridian MS, where beer is known as "oil".

1986 Fleer Stickers #56 Willie Hernandez
When I started collecting I was pretty much a Topps snob and didn't bother with other brands. If I ever saw Fleer Stickers for sale I never bought them. I have a few of these from other years but this is the first one I have from 1986.

1990 Swell Baseball Greats Bob Skinner
4 of the 5 cards I have from this 136-card set are Phillies. The set doesn't seem to be over loaded with Phillies even though Swell was made by the Philadelphia Chewing Gum Company. Bob Skinner was a pretty good player in the 1950s but not with the Phillies. He spent most of his 12-year career with the Pirates. He was the Phillies manager for parts of 1968 and 1969.

2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Luke Scott
I think this is the first loose Allen & Ginter card I've gotten in a repack.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Best Repack Box Ever - Part 2

Here are some more cards from the Best Repack Ever Fairfield box that will be available in this summer's Clearance Trade.

1994 #37 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes 125th Anniversary Frank Crosetti
This was an insert (one per pack) in 1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes. I have 45 of the base cards and a handful of this insert. I'm not sure where I got them, probably in repacks. You may recognize the design. It was one of the designs used in 2008 Upper Deck Timeline.

1996 Emotion XL #180 Eric Young
This is a fancy card. The border is actually a frame applied on the surface of the card. The lower right corner, on the frame, has a large silver foil shield. Eric is exhibiting the unusual emotion of "tracking".

2001 UD Reserve # 132 Michael Barrett
Curiously, both Topps and Upper Deck had a set in 2001 called "Reserve".

1995 Flair #79 Mike Blowers
Fleer's "super-premium" set. Flair debuted in 1994 and was clearly meant as a response to Topps Finest. This set features gold foil on the front and back of the card.

1995 Pinnacle #218 Ricky Bones
You don't often see a pitcher getting involved in collisions at home plate. Lots of gold foil on this card. I'll wager that 1995 Pinnacle had more gold foil on the front than any other regular issue card (except for, perhaps, 1996 Pinnacle).

1994 Pinnacle Museum Collection #487 Matt Walbeck
This was a parallel (inserted 1 in 4 packs) to 1994 Pinnacle. It features heavy foil printing. I rather like these.

1992 Pinnacle #261 Gino Minutelli
Compare this first year of Pinnacle to the later years above. I'm showing this card to make a point about rookie cards. Some time in the early 1990s the preoccupation with rookie cards really took off. All the manufacturers wanted to include the next Ken Griffey Jr. in their sets as a rookie. Rookie cards of the best players were worth more. This lead to including players like Minutelli as "Prospects" Gino was a free agent signing with the Reds in 1985. He finally got called up in 1991. I won't take anything away from anybody who can actually make it to the majors, but nobody should have though that Minutelli was a "prospect" in 1992.

1997 Leaf #111 Bernie Williams
A little chin music for Bernie.

2006 Upper Deck National Baseball Card Day #10 Paul Konerko
What ever happened to National Baseball Card Day?

1991 Bowman #12 Steve Karsay
Looks like it was amateur photographer day at the ball park.

1980 Topps #301 Mike Edwards
I'd like to have this set since it's the year that the Phillies won their first World Series. I have all the Phillies cards from the set but not many more. There were 15 1980 Topps cards in the box. all of them in excellent condition. There were 2 of these Mike Edwards cards. Although I haven't seen many of these, I'm thinking that this is one of the uglier cards in the set.

1992 Leaf Black Gold #408 Craig Lefferts
An early example of a parallel card insert. They were inserted 1 per pack. I have a number of these and don't need anymore (unless they are Phillies).

Monday, April 25, 2011

Best Repack Box Ever - Part 1

You've seen these plastic boxes of cards sold by Fairfield. I'm a sucker for these things. This year you even get the odd chance of an autograph card (one in every 4 cubes!). This box I bought last week was very productive. In addition to the 250 loose cards, there was a pack of 2009 Upper Deck and a pack of 2009 Upper Deck First Edition. So there were 278 cards total. But even better (as far as I'm concerned since baseball card variety is my life) there were 85 different sets represented. Of the 278 cards, 171 were cards I didn't have and 56 of those are keepers.
I decided a few years ago that I had entirely too many common cards. I started scanning every card I buy. Astros, Phillies and players I collect go into binders. I'll also keep rookie cards from new sets and some players which I don't collect but like in boxes. The rest of the cards are available for trade. The cards I scan but give away become part of my virtual collection. I have just over 2,000 virtual cards out of the 77,000+ cards I own. Last year I had my first Summer Clearance Trade and was able to unload a bunch of cards I didn't want in trade for Phillies and Astros cards I did want. I'll be doing the same this year. This post and the next will highlight some of the cards up for grabs this year. Pretty much all of them are commons (at least to me, but maybe not to some other team collector). The cards are arranged more or less in the order they came out of the box.

1985 Topps Bob Watson #51
Nothing special about this card. 1985 was the year I started collecting. I only bought a handful of Topps packs that year but that has led to the enormous amount of cards I have today. I'd like to own the whole set but don't really feel like going through the effort.

1990 Upper Deck #181 Chris Sabo
I really like the first 4 years of Upper Deck and keep every card from these sets I get in repacks (and there are a lot of these cards in repacks). But I already had this one. I used to collect Sabo but he didn't turn out to be a lasting talent.

1984 Topps #424 Dann Bilardello
Again, nothing special about this card but I really like the photograph.

1984 Topps Traded #87 Al Oliver
In my database of scanned cards I keep the stats of the players. Here's a guy with a career 0.303 batting average, 291 home runs and 2,743 hits. He was also a 7-time All-Star. He was eligible for the Hall of Fame in 1991 but only got 4.3% of the votes. He, and others, believe he was a victim of owner collusion which knocked him out of baseball before he could get 3,000 hits, which maybe would have gotten him into the Hall.

1987 Topps #412 Eric Davis
I was able to complete the 1987 set with the help of trades and gifts from fellow bloggers. I collect Davis but already have several copies of this card. I was playing fantasy baseball in 1987, and in our league, nobody was bigger than Eric Davis.

1986 Topps #113 U L Washington
If you put on one of the red and green glasses used in 3D movies, I think this card would be 3D. Do you know what the U L in U L Washington means? That's right, it's just initials. There shouldn't be periods in his name. Does that make this an uncorrected error card? I have several tenuous connections with U L. We share a birth date and he was with the Royals when the Phillies beat them in the 1980 World Series.

1988 Donruss #596 Sammy Stewart
Here's a player I never heard of but looks like a nice guy. Wikipedia has a different story. Here's a quote from his Wikipedia entry: In October 2006, Stewart began serving an eight-year sentence in a North Carolina prison on a felony drug charge, having been convicted as an "habitual felon". He has been charged 46 times with more than 60 offenses since 1988, and has spent 25 months in prison over six separate stints. He has admitted to being a "crack addict".

1988 Topps Barry Bonds
Speaking of felons.

1990 Leaf #234 Scott Terry
This was the first year for Leaf, one of several "premium" sets released that year. As I remember, individual packs were pretty expensive and I didn't buy much of it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Song of the Week - Nothing Sweet About Me by Gabriella Cilmi

This song is from Gabriella Cilmi's 2006 album Lessons To Be Learned. I don't listen to the radio at all so I'm not really up on popular music. According to Wikipedia, this album was a big hit in 2006. My daughter is always bringing CDs home from the library and urging me to listen to them. I usually like what she likes. This album is pretty good.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Random Phillies cards of the Week

Pre-1980: 1972 Topps 167 Deron JohnsonDeron was acquired by the Phillies in 1969 and was a big offensive force for them. But he only played 96 games in 1972 and was traded in 1973 to the A's for somebody you never heard of.

1980s: 1982 Fleer #267 Dick Ruthven
Dick was 11-11 with a 3.79 ERA for the 1982 Phillies.

1990s: 1998 Fleer Tradition #309 Curt Schilling
Curt was 15-14 for the 1998 Phillies. He led the league in starts, with 35, complete games, with 15, and innings pitched, with 282. He was a workhorse.

2000s: 2008 Ultra Gold Medallion #119 Ryan Howard
I think that Ryan is one of the few players who holds up his bat like this before each pitch. I have a lot of cards featuring this pose.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Jeff Cirillo pose

I own a bunch of Jeff Cirillo cards but I only have two scanned. This first one is from very early in his career (his ML debut was in May 1994).

1995 Stadium Club #390
And the second is from very late in his 13 year career. His final game was in September 2007.

2007 Topps #503
Jeff had a pretty good career with a .296 career BA, 112 home runs and 727 rbis. Did he have any other baseball card poses?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Recent eBay acquisitions - Older cards

Here's my second post on my recent eBay orgy. This is a pretty random collection of Astros and Phillies relic cards. I paid less than 4 dollars (including shipping) for each one of these cards. I posed the question in my last post: Why so cheap? I think that the supply of relic cards in general is high and the demand for any particular relic, especially for players who aren't hot rookies or really big stars is low.

2005 Upper Deck Trilogy Generations Present Lumber Silver Craig BiggioPerhaps the smallest bat relic I've ever seen. It's number 115 of 115. There were also Generations Future (of which I have one) and Generations Past versions of these.

2008 Upper Deck First Edition Jerseys Geoff Jenkins
This is a curious card and not just because it features Jenkins as a Brewer (his 2007 team) and that the jersey piece is clearly not from a Phillies uniform (although I do like the stripe). It's curious to me in that I didn't know that Upper Deck First Edition had relic cards. The eBay seller listed this as an Upper Deck jersey and it looks just like one, but on the back it says "Upper Deck First Edition Jersey" and is numbered UDFE-GJ. According to, the cards in this set were limited to a 750 card print run. I think that 2008 Upper Deck First Edition was probably not very popular, so I wonder how many of these actually got pulled and are in circulation.

2005 Zenith Z-Bats #25 Roy Oswalt
This Zenith set was resurrected by Donruss/Playoff for a one-season run in 2005. The card is pretty striking with a shiny red foil finish. It's also pretty thick. You'd think it they were going to feature a bat relic for a pitcher they'd have a picture of the player with a bat in his hand. Just sayin'.

2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Relics Roy Oswalt
Another Oswalt relic. I've always liked the Allen & Ginter mini-relic cards. This is only the 2nd one I have from 2008. The other I got in the box of A&G I bought that year.

2010 Topps Allen & Ginter Relics Carlos Lee
Unlike 2008, this is the 9th 2010 A&G relic I have. There are 98 cards in the set. As I write this there are a great many of these available on eBay and I've got bids on 5 more. This might be a relic set which is completable.

2005 Absolute Memorabilia Team Tandems #31 Scott Rolen/John Kruk
Relics from two of my favorite ex-Phillies on one card. Rolen left the Phillies in 2002, Kruk was long retired by then, and they never played together. Makes me wonder how they ended up together on a card issued in 2005.

2001 SP Game-Used Edition Authentic Fabric Scott Rolen
Another Scott Rolen relic, this from a year he actually played for the Phillies. I now have 12 Rolen relic cards. I know there are probably thousands of them so I won't be trying to collect them all.

2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Gold Jersey Carlos Lee
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum was a set I really hated. I bought one blaster box. On the box it said "Memorabilia card in every box (on average)". 1 card on average? What is that supposed to mean? Well, somebody else must have gotten 2 relics in their box 'cause I didn't get one. This card is numbered 14 of 99.

2008 Upper Deck X Memorabilia Carlos Lee
Here's a memorabilia card from another set which I, and as near as I remember on the blogs nobody, liked. At least I got my relic card in the one blaster of this I bought. Back before 2010, it was common to promise a relic or autograph in a blaster box. This doesn't seem to be the case anymore.